Happy 81st Birthday to Rita!!!

On Sunday, October 17, 1999, Rita Hayworth would have been 81 years old. This page is in remembrance of October 17, 1918, Rita's birth date.

Margarita and her father, Eduardo Cansino Rita and her mother, Volga Cansino

Rita and her parents. Left: At age 16 with her father, Eduardo, from the time when the duo were appearing as "The Dancing Cansino's". He's the one that trained Rita to become one of the greatest dancers Hollywood has ever seen. Right: With her mother, Volga, in a picture taken during production of Tonight and Every Night.

Margarita at age 5 1/2 The picture at left is 5 1/2 year old Margarita Cansino. Less than 15 years later she'd be known as Rita Hayworth, on her way to stardom. Rita's life began in a New York City hospital on October 17, 1918 -the first born of Eduardo and Volga Cansino. In her early teens Margarita became Eduardo's dancing partner performing in Agua Caliente and other Mexican towns. Rita's dancing eventually landed her a contract with Fox, but after only five films she was dropped from her contract. Fortunately, she soon landed a seven year contract with Columbia Pictures, where she submitted to extended image alterations. Landing a role in Only Angels Have Wings (1939) led to her becoming one of Hollywood's most promising starlets. Then in 1941, the movie Blood and Sand made her a full-fledged star. She reached the zenith of her career in the mid-40's with movies like Cover Girl (1944) and in 1946, Gilda was released, giving us the image most associated with Rita Hayworth, that of the gorgeous femme-fatale. In the late 50's she was able to broaden her horizons in more serious roles, like in Separate Tables (1958). She continued appearing in films until the early 70's, when it became apparent that something was wrong with Rita. What the press called alcoholism turned out to be Alzheimer's Disease. Not much was known about this illness at the time, so she was not diagnosed until 1981. Alzheimer's claimed Rita's life on May 14, 1987. During her lifetime Rita married five times, had two daughters and achieved eternal fame, yet never seemed to have find true, lasting happiness. She was quoted as saying, "I haven't had everything from life, I've had too much."

Left: Rita in 1935, publicizing the Fox film, Paddy O'Day. Center: At the height of her fame, in a publicity shot from Down to Earth (1947). Right: On the set of Circus World (1964).


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